It’s the rare individual who considers a dental appointment fun. However, if you find a trip to the dentist unnerving, you’re far from alone. One in five Americans deals with dental anxiety so significant that they only go when it’s absolutely necessary. Meanwhile, around 5% completely avoid the dentist’s office. If you’re struggling to balance a desire for healthy teeth with your dental fear, you may find these tips helpful.

5 Steps to Cope with Dental Anxiety

1. Acknowledge your dentophobia.
Ignoring your dental phobia won’t make it go away. However, it can make it harder to identify and utilize strategies that might help you manage it. If you’re scared of the dentist, ask yourself why. Is it the needles, drills or other tools, the close quarters, or the prospect of pain? Are you troubled by memories of a bad experience? Once you understand the root of your fear, you can take steps to manage it.

2. Choose the right dentist.
Many dentists, including Drs. Offenback and Brambila, consider patient comfort a priority for all Wekiva Dental patients.  Most dental offices work hard to create comfortable and welcoming environments. If you’re dealing with dental anxiety, share that with your dental office. They will understand. Also, it will ensure that the dentist and their staff won’t become impatient or disdainful. Instead, they’ll work with you to overcome your apprehensions and improve your oral health. If fear of the dentist is an issue, do your research. Search out a dentist with a reputation for delivering quality dental services with patience and kindness.

3. Ask questions.
Uncertainty is often a source of fear. Instead of wondering, ask questions so that you’ll know what to expect. Ask your dentist to explain what will happen, how it will feel, and what to expect after the procedure. Also, ask how you can indicate that you need a break during the work. Clear communication helps you retain control and eases dental anxiety. Are you worried that your dentophobia might make it hard to process information? Bring a friend you trust. They can help you stay calm, assist with any information gathering and speak up for you if you become overwhelmed.

4. Drown out fear with distractions.
Keeping your mind occupied with other things gives fear less time to take hold. Bring a friend for comfort. Listen to music or a podcast with your favorite earbuds or headphones. If the whine of dental drills triggers you, wear earplugs. Is pain a problem? Talk with your dentist about using a sufficient numbing agent. If you feel any discomfort, do not be afraid to speak up.  The doctor always has more anesthesia in the drawer!  Breathing exercises and other relaxation techniques may also be helpful.

5. Consider nitrous oxide dentistry.
Nitrous oxide, which is commonly referred to as laughing gas, has been soothing patient anxiety and easing discomfort since 1844. People who breathe in the gas remain conscious and aware. They’re simply more relaxed and less sensitive to pain. Nitrous oxide dentistry offers an easy, affordable way to soothe rattled nerves and improve comfort during dental visits.

We Can Help With Dental Anxiety

At Wekiva Dental, we put our patients first. We delight in helping our patients enjoy beautiful, healthy smiles and strive to nurture long-term, caring relationships with our patients. We believe any apprehensions or concerns should be addressed with respect. Wekiva Dental works hard to deliver the top-notch care, comfort and convenience that our patients deserve. To learn more or schedule an appointment, contact us today.